Thierry Mugler Angel and Alien les Cuir de Parfums, 2012

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(image Una Burke, Tuxedoconfessions)

Perfumer not cited

The annual Mugler thematic releases highlight the line’s faith in branding over quality. It’s flanker-ism at its barest. Slapping a new flavor across an entire line seems both haphazard and cynical. Still every now and again a match can occur. It makes sense that Angel, with its fingers in so many different genres (gourmand, oriental, floral) is more likely than Alien, Womanity or Mugler Cologne to be able to juggle the flavor of the year without catastrophe.

Angel les Parfum de Cuir can hold the leather note without it seeming entirely out of place, but leather does nothing to enhance Angel. It muddies Angel’s distinctive qualities, but it doesn’t negate them. Sort of, meh. Not exactly the Angel battle cry.

Alien les Parfum de Cuir matches a dulled leather notes to the radioactive jasmine of the original Alien, giving us a real head scratcher. There are no interesting commonalities and no juxtapositions to exploit.  Until the leather note fades, when it is ultimately crushed under the weight of chemo floral oppression, Alien Cuir just seems like a mismatch, more of a smell that a scent.

Mugler’s Cuirs are by definition formulaic and lack inspiration. They seem to come from the same thinking that give us, “Ugghhh.  It’s December again. What should this year’s holiday office party theme be? “

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